No new pay rise for English school support staff

Chancellor’s pay announcement only applies to teachers – and schools will have to find the bulk of the money themselves

School staff in England won’t be getting an unexpected pay bonus after the school holidays, despite what some media reports suggested over the weekend. These followed an announcement by Chancellor Philip Hammond of pay rises over 2% for “key” public sector workers.

But all is not what it seems.

For a start, the education pay rise of 2.75% only applies to teachers and heads in England – not to other staff. And the government is only funding 0.75% of the pay rise. The other 2% has to be found from within schools’ existing budgets.

Mr Hammond’s announcement came just days after MPs warned that schools and colleges “desperately need” billions of pounds invested in them.

UNISON national secretary Jon Richards warned that, with English schools being told to find the money for a 2% pay rise for teaching staff themselves, this will inevitably hit their budgets further.

“The government needs to fully fund all pay awards,” he said, “otherwise there will be more job cuts and that will hit pupils’ education.”

He added that support staff are in the second part of a two-year deal and unions are just about to begin a new round of bargaining for 2020 onwards.

Mr Hammond’s announced pay rises also cover police officers – but not police staff – in England and Wales, as well as hospital doctors and dentists, though not other health workers, in England.

The chancellor also announced slightly higher than expected pay rises for senior civil servants in England, Scotland and Wales, and for the armed forces across the UK.